How to travel to Bhutan from USA? Before travelling Bhutan you would require a Bhutan Visa and you must book your holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator.
The following information acts as a guide when traveling to Bhutan. This practical advice is not a comprehensive list but should provide some useful information for you as you plan your travelling.
Travel to Bhutan from Europe and Bhutan Travel Cost
If you are travelling to Bhutan from Europe, Bhutan is +6:00 hrs ahead of Universal Time Coordinated (UTC+6). Bhutan does not observe any Daylight saving time. For all visitors planning their trip to Bhutan can take flight routes from New Delhi, Kathmandu, Bangkok or Singapore. Travel requirements for European citizens to get into Bhutan require a passport, valid for at least 6 months.
Processing of Bhutan Visa for tourist will at least take seven (7) days for approval. Bhutan Visa costs USD 40 and is only issued to tourist booked with local Bhutan tour operator or through foreign travel partners. There are only two Airlines that fly into Bhutan, Bhutan Airlines & Drukair.
Bhutan or the ‘Place that is known for the Thunder Dragon’ may have shed hundreds of years of deliberate segregation yet it continues rehashing itself as a one of a kind country with its very own character. Today, we are the world’s most youthful vote based system, talented to the general population by our dearest Fourth King himself. Our directing advancement reasoning is Gross National Happiness.
Custom, culture and the earth are enthusiastically watched and religion is a lifestyle. Bhutan positions among the world’s best travel goals however not very many guests make the trip. It needs to do with the Kingdom’s ‘high esteem low effect’ tourism strategy, intended to protect the country’s rich social legacy. The individuals who visit may find a land and a people set in an uncommon adjust of advancement and custom, magnificence and agreement.
Bhutan Travel Guide
Bhutan at a Glance
Area : 38,394 sq.Km.
Local Time: GMT +6
Religion: Mahayana Buddhism
Tree: Cypress (Cupresses Corneyana)
Animal: Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor)
Bird: Raven (Corvus Corax Tibetanus)
National Day: 17 December
Electricity: 220 / 240 volts. 50 cycles AC, the current is variable.
Currency: Bhutan’s Ngultrum(Nu) is at par with Indian Rupee (INR)
Credit Cards: Most hotels and shops catering to tourists accept Traveller’s cheques, American Express and VISA credit cards.
How to get Bhutan Visa?
Preceding your voyage to Bhutan, Visa is required for your trip to Bhutan. Visa is endorsed ahead of time and a visa leeway number is issued by the Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. Without the visa leeway number, sightseers can’t get onto the flight or enter the nation. The duplicate of this visa freedom is sent to the concerned Drukair stations and other section focuses by the concerned Department. An examined duplicate in shade of the first travel permit (legitimate for a half year) ought to be sent through email to empower us to apply the visa for your benefit to the concerned government offices of Bhutan.
Favorable time to Visit Bhutan
This can be planned throughout the year, but best months are March, April, May, September, October and November. There are several festivals taking place during these months, offering an added attraction. Winter in Bhutan is from mid November to mid march and at this time of the year, climate is dry and sunny for the most parts with perfect blue sky, temperatures’ peaking at around 15 degree Celsius in the day time and falling below zero at night. The monsoon usually arrives in mid-June, with light rain falling mainly in the afternoons and evening.
Coming to Bhutan – Bhutan Travel Cost
In Bhutan, the tourist tariff is set by the Royal Government in an all-inclusive package structure. The Royal Government fixed minimum package tariff for tourists visiting in a group of three persons or more are as follows:
For March, April, May, September, October & November
- US $ 160/ per person per night. PLUS Royalty Tax = US $ 65/ per person per night.
For January, February, June, July, August & December
- US $ 135/ per person per night. PLUS Royalty Tax = US $ 65/per person per night.
* These tariffs are the same for cultural tours, treks or any other special interest tours.
- Individual tourists and smaller groups of less than three persons are subject to the following surcharges, over and above the minimum daily package tariff:
- FIT surcharge for 01 pax = US $ 40/ per night
- FIT surcharge for 02 pax = US $ 30/ per person per night
- There is no surcharge for three pax and above.
- Additional surcharge of USD 40/ per person per night will be applicable for trek nights only for a group comprising of less than three people.
- Single supplement of USD 40/ per person per night.
- Visa Fee of US $ 40/ per person for single entry will be applicable.
Terms and Conditions for Bhutan Tour Packages
THE PACKAGE RATES ARE INCLUSIVE OF THE FOLLOWING SERVICES:
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis (in standard hotels).
- All meals (buffet system /include evening tea/snacks per person each day).
- All hotel tax & service charges.
- Bhutan visa processing.
- All inland travel permits.
- Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) royalties and taxes.
- Inland transfers: SUV Vehicles (Hyundai Tucson /Hyundai Santa Fe/ Toyota), Toyota Hiace, Toyota Coaster, Hyundai Motor Buses – based on group strength.
- Local sightseeing with entrance fees where applicable.
- Services of an English speaking local guide.
- Airfares and taxes.
- Travel & Medical insurance coverage.
- Communication charges, laundry, tips, porters at hotels.
- Other expenses of personal nature.
- The bundle rate given above is the base rate appropriate per visitor every night end in Bhutan. Any extra administrations or a higher review room/lodging would add to a higher cost for the bundle. The higher review/lavish inns are Taj Tashi, Zhiwaling, Uma and the Amankora Lodges.
- All visits to Dzongs and Monasteries are required to take after the best possible clothing standard as commanded by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
- Full visit installment for air and land course of action is to be saved no less than 45 days preceding entry in Bhutan. Visa will be cleared by the endless supply of installment. The banks and record numbers will be insinuated once the visit appointments are affirmed.
- There is no individual protection of any sort incorporated into the visit cost. Travel protection ought to be gotten from your place of living arrangement, before initiation of your excursion.
- All reservation must be sent in composed, fax or email. Appointments will be gotten for all dates independent of high season or low season whenever of the year.For all Festival Dates, the appointments must be sent or affirmed at the very latest 100 days preceding the date of entry in Bhutan.
Non affirmation of the appointments with no notice following 100 days will be dealt with as wiped out and the reservations will be discharged to maintain a strategic distance from cancellation charges from the lodgings.
Any appointments got/restored following 100 days time span will be acknowledged relying on the accessibility of Drukair seats and lodgings.
Tour programmes booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:
- For cancellations received on or before 45 days prior to date of arrival – full refund.
- For cancellation received less than 45 days from the date of arrival – 50%
iii. For cancellation received less than 30 days/no shows/early departures after arrival in Bhutan – 0% refund
- All cancellation has to be sent in written (fax/e-mail) before the stipulated time.
- All rates and conditions applied above are subject to change depending upon the policies of the Royal Government of Bhutan, which shall be intimated to you as soon as our office is notified officially about it.
- Every effort will be made to adhere to the planned itinerary. However, due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather and road conditions, changes in flight schedules, national holidays and reasons beyond Bhutan Wonderland’s control, there might be changes in the daily programme/itinerary.
If you’re organized to execute that long again dream to visit the land of monks and monasteries, here are the best 7 guidelines to be aware of when planning a outing to Bhutan to help you put together before you go.
5 Travel Tips to understand before planning a visit to Bhutan in 2020
1. Do’s and Don’ts While Visiting Religious and Cultural Places in Bhutan
- Have a printed Bhutan VISA clearance copy at the time of arrival for the flight to Kingdom of Bhutan
- Follow the correct dress code while visiting Religious sites and Monasteries.
- Carry some extra cash in hand if needed.
- Take help from your Guide if you need anything.
- Please beware of street dogs.
- Make sure your luggage is always counted while checking out from hotel.
- Remove your shoes before entering into temple.
- Always carry your passports along with you.
- Avoid passing negative comments on religious sites.
- Don’t climb on religious sites and take pictures.
- As a tourist you can not drive in Bhutan.
- Photography is not allowed inside religious places and monasteries.
- Smoking in Public area is not allowed.
- Not allowed to shout or speak loudly inside religious places.
- Don’t wear hats and sunglasses inside religious places.
2. Top Tourist Attraction Places to visit in Bhutan
Paro, Thimphu and Punakha is the center point of tourist attraction places to visit in Bhutan.
7 best Places to visit in Paro are Drukgyal Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang, Ta Dzong, Tiger`s Nest Monastery, Rinpung Dzong, Sang Chokhor Buddhist College & Tachog Lhakhang.
Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, occupies a valley in the country’s western interior. In addition to being the government seat, the city is known for its Buddhist sites. The massive Tashichho Dzong is a fortified monastery and government palace with gold-leaf roofs.
3. Peak & Non Peak Tourist Seasons in Bhutan
Bhutan’s peak tourist seasons are Spring: March –May and Fall: September –November. Particularly involving March, April, October and November. If you plan your trip to Bhutan in the middle of these months, book your tour package and flight tickets no less than 3 months in advance to make sure you book.
During Peak season travel cost to Bhutan is $250 (USD) per night per person and $200 (USD) in off season.
If you are planning your travel to Bhutan then note the price for peak and non peak seasons. During Paro Tshechu, Thimphu Tshechu and Punakha Tshechu, price of hotels are expensive so you have to pay some extra charges if you book your Bhutan trip in last minute.
4. How much do a solo traveler needs to Pay?
Travelers planning their trip to Bhutan as solo or as couple, the travel cost to Bhutan is different.
In Bhutan, extra Government fee (Surcharge) is application for traveler less than two. Single traveler has to pay US$40 every night (Surcharge) and for two travelers a fee of USD $30 per person per night.
The total cost for single traveler visiting Bhutan would be calculated as:
Peak Season: $250 + $40(visa fee) + $40(Surcharge/night)
Low Season: $200 + $40(visa fee) + $40(Surcharge/night)
Gathering of 3 traveler or more – No extra charge (so assemble 2 of your companions along, spare some cash and shape enduring recollections!).
5. Planning trip to Bhutan during Festival season.
Planning your trip to Bhutan during the festival time is the best way to explore the rich culture and tradition preserved. There are around thirty (30) festivals held annually in different parts of Bhutan. The most prominent tourist attraction festivals in Bhutan are Thimphu Tshechu, Paro Tshechu and Punakha Tshechu.
Various mask dances are performed during the festival (Tshechu), folk dances, traditional songs and many more. There are individual reasons behind every mask dances performed, which was first introduced by Guru Rimpoche to attract demons and subdue them. Different people come across wearing expensive dresses making the entire place colorful.
Aside from religious celebrations, there are some other festivals trying to preserve flora and fauna. Some of the main festivals are like the Rhododendron festival, Black Necked Crane festival, Mushroom festival and many more.
Check our festival dates for 2018.
Best time to Visit Bhutan
Winter is a decent time to get the imperiled black necked crane in their winter home. The Phobjikha valley is a magnificent time for mushroom picking & to get looks of rainbows over the valleys. In case you’re there to look for comfort or for deep sense of being reasons, whenever would be a decent time to go.
It truly relies upon what you need to see and do. In the event that you need to trek, April, May, September and October are the greatest months with ideal climate. In spite of the fact that it is colder, the skies are by and large clear and blue, and above all, it won’t be sloppy. Do take note of that the storm season in Bhutan is from July – August and amid this time, light rain (1-2 hours) toward the beginning of the day is average. Substantial deluges are uncommon, yet we by and large don’t prescribe trekking, unless they are short day climbs.
How much Discount can be availed for your Eastern Bhutan Tour?
If you Book your Bhutan tour to the eastern part of Bhutan, then you are omitted to pay $65 per day Royalty fee as surcharge to the Royal Government of Bhutan. The Tour cost to Bhutan will only be $160 in peak and $130 on off season. One time visa fee of $40 is additional.
National Parks and Protected Areas in Bhutan
National Parks and Protected Areas in Bhutan, the country is known for its environment. Environment preservation has been given due importance so that the future generations of the Bhutanese people benefit from them. Therefore a number of protected areas have been identified by the Government. There are today ten protected areas covering about 16,396.43 square kilometers.
Wangchuck Centennial Park
The Wangchuck Centennial Park was lunched on 12th December 2008 as a tribute to our kings. Located in central-northern Bhutan, the national park covers an area of 4,194 square kilometers. It is a source of four major river systems in the country namely the Punatshang chu, Chamkhar Chu and Kuri Chu. The park has about 244 species of plants, 23 species of large mammals and 134 bird species. The Royal Bengal Tiger, the Snow leopard, Takin and the Himalayan Black bear are all found here.
Jigme Dorji National Park
Jigme Dorji National park is the second largest protected area in the country. It covers an area of 4,316 square kilometres. The park hass many endangered species including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow leopard, Takin, Blue sheep, Musk deer, Himalayan Black bear, Marmot, Red panda all shelter here.
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Royal Manas National Park
The Royal National Park is the oldest parks in Bhutan. It is located between Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in the North, and the Manas National Park in Assam, India to the South. It is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, Elephant, Guar, the Glden Langur, Pygmy hoh, Hispid hare, the Ganges River Dolphin, the Greater one-horned rhinoceros and the Asiatic wild buffalo.
The park has 362 species of birds that includes Rufous-necked horn bill, Wreathed, Pied and the Great Indian horn bill. Several plant species are valued ass food crops, while a number are of commercial and medicinal significance.
Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park
Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park covers an area of 1,730 square kilometers. It has a wide range of habitat. One can find broad-leaf forest at 600 meters to coniferous forests, alpine pasture and lakes, to permanent ice at 4,925 meters. The Black necked crane inhabits the Park along with more than 499 species of birds.
Thrumshingla National Park
The Thrumsingla National Park is in central Bhutan. It covers 905 square kilometers. The altitude ranges from 700 to 4,400 meters. Six species of threatened birds found in the park are the Rufous necked horn-bill, Rufous-throated wren-babbler, Satyr Tragopan, Beautiful nuthatch, Ward’s trogon and Chestnut-breasted partridge.
Bumdelling Wildlife Sanctuary
Bumdelling Wildlife Sanctuary is located in eastern Bhutan. It has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It was established in 1995 and covers an area of 1,520.61 square kilometers. The bumdelling valley, in Trashi Yangtse falls within the Sanctuary and is one of the country’s two wintering spots for the blue sheep, snow leopard, red panda, tiger, leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, wild boar, wild dog and fox.
Sakten Wildlife Sanctuary
Sakten Wildlife sanctuary is the world’s only protected area known to harbor the highly reclusive Yeti or the snow man. It covers 740.60 square kilometers with altitude ranging from 1,800 to 4,400 meters. It is also home to the endemic species such as the Eastern blue pine and the Black-rumped magpie.
Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the south-eastern part of the country and covering a modest 334.73 square kilometers, Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary is Bhutan’s smallest protected area. The altitude in the sanctuary ranges between 400 to 2,200 meters, and is an important habitat for Elephant, Guar and other tropical wildlife species. It is home to the Pygmy hog and Hispid hare.
Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary
The phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary is the second smallest park in the country and covers 268.93 square kilometers. The altitude ranges from 200 to 1,600 meters. It is the only area in the country to have Chital or the spotted deer, and the natural Sal forests. The sanctuary is home to Elephant, Royal Bengal Tiger, Gaur, Mahseer and the rare Ganges River dolphin.
Places to visit in Bhutan
Places to visit in Bhutan Within a small area of 46,500 sq km of Bhutan lie a whole range of places to visit or major tourist destinations
The only airstrip is located at Paro. Paro Valley is one of the most populate areas of the whole country. Because of its proximity to the airport, there are hotels and tourist facilities close to the airstrip.
The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions are requires a few days to be properly explored. Casting a shadow across the town of Paro and controlling all secular and religious activities in its valley is the Rinpung Dzong, on the hillside, is the castle-shaped Ta Dzong. Onetime watch tower was built to defend Rinpung Dzong during civil wars of the 17th Century; Ta Dzong has housed the national’s heritage in Bhutan’s National Museum since 1967. The museum’s critical shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.
From a Buddhist’s point of view, Paro was the first stop for Guru Rimpoche on his crusade from Tibet to Bhutan over one thousand years ago. Guru Rimpoche is said to have arrived on the back of a tigress and mediated at Taktshang Monastery pilgrims who travel from all over the land to pray as its temple. Eighteen kilometres from Paro town on the south side of the valley are the burnt ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (Victorious fortress). It was from this monastery that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century.
Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. A regal town, Thimphu is home to the revered Bhutanese Royal family and to several foreign missions and development projects.
On the bank of the river lies Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty the king of Bhutan. The National Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. Visitors are strictly prohibited from entering the government building at all during an active session.
Bhutan’s National Library is located close to the painting school and is also worth a look in. Housed in the library are some oldest records of Bhutanese history and religion. A wonderful day’s outing from Thimphu is a visit to Cheri and Tango Monasteries to the north of the town. They can be reached by road but many Thimphu residents go up to the monasteries for a daytrip by foot.
Five miles from Thimphu stands the 17th Century Simtokha Dzong in the land houses the school for Buddhist studies. The road to Dochula pass and on to eastern Bhutan winds its way upwards from Simtokha Dzong.
Punakha lies about two hours drive from Dochula down low in its valley. Commanding a spare population, Punakha Dzong is home to the central monk body and the Je Khenpo during the milder winter months.
A temperate climate and natural drainage from the Phochu (male) and Mochu (female) rivers, the fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruit. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1995.
Punakha Dzong was strategically built at the junction of the two rivers in the 17th Century by the first Zhabdrung to serve as the religious and administrative center. In spite of four catastrophic fires and a devastating earthquake that destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong houses sacred temples including the Marchen where the embalmed body of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal lies in stat.
The dzong has been fully restored by the present king. In 1993 the largest thongdrel, a religious embroidery composed entirely of appliqué on silk brocade, that has ever been created was dedicated to the dzong and the people of the Punakha valley by His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and Je Khenpo at a three-day consecration which brought together Bhutan’s highest nobility.
In the center of Bhutan four hours by road from Wangduephodrang lies the town of Trongsa. Like almost all towns in the kingdom, the secular and religious center, the dong, dominates the horizon.
The Royal Family’s ancestral home in Trongsa. His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck, the first king of Bhutan and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck, ruled the country from Trongsa’s ancient Dzong. The Crown Prince of Bhutan normally holds the position of the Trongsa Penlop Prior to ascending the throne, including the present King who was appointed Penlop in 1972, shortly before his succession to the throne.
Protected from invaders by an impenetrable valley, Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress. The dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold. Above the dzong, a watchtower, Ta Dzong, used to administer its defence.
Although a temple originally stood on the spot, the dzong was built in earnest by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who midway though the 17th century, recognized how Trongsa’s strategic location could help him his long and successful quest to unify the country.
Trongsa is one of quaintest of all Bhutanese towns. A number of hotels and cafes provide accommodation and refreshments to travelers who are crossing the country.
The Yutongla Pass separates the valleys of Trongsa and Bumthang. Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend.
Apart from the dzong at jakar smaller temples can be found throughout the hills. Tales of Padma Sambhava dominated these holy shrines. The valley is home to the sacred Jampa and Kuje Monasteries.
Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa. The town of Jakar is the largest between Thimphu in the west and Tashigang in the east. Jakar is famous for its honey production, cheese, apples and apricots. Its arable land and Swiss and German aid projects have helped the local economy to dramatically improve over recent years.
The eastern most valley in central Bhutan before the Thrumsingla pass is the Ura valley. A small but old dzong and cobble-stoned paths give the village a medieval feel. Ederly women can still have seen walking around Ura wearing sheepskins on their backs.
Ura is the settlement before the climb to the higest pass (12,465 feet) in the kingdom at Thrumsingla.
Best season to trek in Bhutan
Best season to trek in Bhutan is spring and autumn. Tourists, looking to trek in Bhutan will have to decide on the seasons before hand. Tourists, looking to trek in Bhutan will have to decide on the seasons before hand. Most travel agents in Bhutan recommend spring and autumn for trekking in Bhutan. Spring is the most preferred since one gets to enjoy the vast and diverse species of plants and flowers in its beautiful blossoming stage.
During spring, Bhutan’s wilderness will be filled with beautiful butterflies, the buzzing of dragon flies and the chirping of numerous species of birds.
The untouched and unspoiled pure natural beauty of Bhutan’s wilderness comes alive in the season of spring.
Spring and autumn is also the best season for trekking in Bhutan since there will be no heavy downpour during these season. In winter, trekking routes especially in the north will be covered by snow.
Interacting with the locals
Some of the trekking routes in Bhutan will also offer the unique opportunity to witness and interact with the Bhutanese rural life. One will see, along the way, typical two storied traditional Bhutanese houses. Almost every village will have a Buddhist temple.
Bhutanese people are highly hospitable and treat visitors in their villages with extreme generosity. One will also be able to observe the simple lifestyle enjoyed by people in the far flung villages of Bhutan.
Trekking in Bhutan is one of the best ways to experience Bhutan.
The Merak – Sakteng trek offers trekkers the opportunity to witness the unique nomadic lifestyle of the people. Nomads of Merak and Sakteng have their own unique lifestyle who migrate with their yaks during summer and winter. Known as Brokpas, they wear their own dress, completely different from the Bhutanese national dress.
Their economy is still very traditional. The nomads still practice the ancient barter system and exchange cheese, butter and incense for rice and other grains.
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